By LattegatoIn this first installment of Game Industry Insiders, we chat with Greg Zesinger, product manager at eGames, developers of one of my favorite series, Burger Island.1. What games did you play when you were growing up?I always enjoyed playing games, enjoyed going to the arcade or Chucky Cheese to play the latest. Dragon's Lair was one of my favorites. On our Apple II, I spent a lot of time playing the Ultima and King's Quest games. We also had an Odyssey 2 (a lesser known competitor to the Atari), and I enjoyed games like Quest for the Rings and Pick Axe Pete on there. When the NES came along, titles like Castlevania and Super Tecmo Bowl occupied my time.2. What is your favorite all time game to play?I probably enjoy playing NCAA Football the most. I love college football and each game is different. I would also put an adventure game like the Secret of Monkey Island up there too.3. What is your current job title and main responsibilities?I am the Product Manager at eGames. My main responsibilites consist of marketing, game design, and distribution of our titles across the Internet. Everyone at eGames wears a lot of hats though, so it isn't uncommon to chip in on other areas on a regular basis.4. What games have you personally worked on developing?I have worked on multiple titles from the Madden and NCAA Football series. At eGames, I've worked on Burger Island 1 and 2, Defender of the Crown: Heroes Live Forever, Purrfect Pet Shop, Puzzle City, Rubik's Cube Challenge, The Three Stooges: Treasure Hunt Hijinks, Satisfashion, and a secret handful which are under development right now.5. From concept to release, how many people worked with you on your latest game prior to it being sold to the public?About 20 or so people.6. Where do you find new inspiration for freshness in the games you work on?You have to keep an eye on all of the other titles that are coming out, but you also try to keep a handle on what the public is interested in via movies, TV shows, etc. A lifetime of playing lots of games helps too. Since the casual market is a bit different from what I grew up on, I'll try to take a different perspective, looking back at some of the games I enjoyed, and how they could be translated into something "casual-friendly". 7. Name a personal touch or contribution to a specific game that you are really proud of.While I was working at EA Sports, I played a key role in designing what is now known as "dynasty mode" in their college football games. It's a gameplay mode where you recruit and develop players to your college over multiple seasons. It's now one of the most popular features in that genre.8. Where do you see casual PC game development headed in the next 5 years?I see casual gaming continuing to grow in popularity. For a while, downloadable games needed to be 10 MB or less, and as broadband becomes faster and more widespread, I think casual game file sizes will continue to grow, and become more complex. I think multi-player games will become much more commonplace, and there will be an emphasis on player interaction and community. Casual game companies will continue to look for ways to monetize the 99% who don't buy a game after playing the demo, so I think advertising models and microtransactions (like Diner Dash: Hometown Hero's system) will become more prevalent.9. Tell us any secret about yourself, games, or the industry.Burger Island was originally going to be a Three Stooges game! The Stooges were going to be working at a Hawaiian hamburger stand. Moe would work the grill, Larry the fries, and Curly the shakes. They would have been supervised by a cute manager who probably would have ended up looking like Patty. :)Thanks!
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